A tooth extraction is a procedure by which a tooth is removed from the jaw. Your dentist will only perform an extraction if less invasive alternatives will not be effective.
When should a tooth be extracted?
A tooth extraction may be the best choice when a tooth is causing crowding in the mouth, as wisdom teeth tend to. An extraction may also be performed in preparation for orthodontic treatment, in cases where a tooth has not erupted in the correct position, is stuck under the gum line, or if there is an infection or the risk of infection.
An impacted tooth is essentially blocked, stuck, or unable to fully erupt and function as it should. Third molars (wisdom teeth) and second molars are the most likely to become impacted.
Wisdom teeth are usually the last four of our 32 teeth to surface in the mouth, and generally erupt between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the top and bottom jaws, near the entrance to the throat.
Most of the time, there is not enough space in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. This is what causes the tooth to become impacted.
The Extraction Process
Your dentist will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom teeth and the teeth around them.
Panoramic and/or digital x-rays will be taken to aid in the evaluation of the position of the wisdom teeth.
This will help the dentist determine if a problem exists, or if there is a likelihood of future problems developing.
The extraction process is generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite.
The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.